CIRCE by Madeline Miller
Thank you to Little Brown for my early copy of CIRCE by Madeline Miller.
When I stumbled upon this title in the fall I was instantly captivated by the cover. Beautiful gold detailing and a simple title: CIRCE. I hadn't read Song of Achilles (it is on my shelves, but alas I haven't made time to read it yet), so I wasn't sure what to expect with Miller's writing style or her approach with the numerous characters and stories in Greek Mythology.
The cast of characters in any Greek myth are long, the gods and goddesses themselves are at once spiteful and forgiving. They play their cruel games and the repercussions resonate through future stories, popping up time and again so that any Greek Myth feels like a culmination of them all (at times). The players are all connected in some way, the gods and goddesses using their deceits and power against each other for fun. Anyone who knows anything about Greek mythology knows this to be true and reading a story like CIRCE is sure to call upon many of the names and places from mythology's most famous legends. Recognizing places, names and events while reading CIRCE was really a delight. It made me reminisce about my high school mythology class and the stories I had long since forgotten about! The Minotaur! Odysseus!
Circe's character may be one of my favorites this year. She is written so well that by the end of the story I was completely enamored with her. A witch with the blood of Helios, a woman who had loved, a mother struggling to protect her child, a young girl blinded by a first love. The facets to this character were many and Miller wrote each layer of Circe's story so well. She made me want to sit on Aiaia with Circe and listen to her stories.
Overall, I believe this story will be one I think about and recommend for a long time. Escaping into the tragedies of the gods, traveling islands and lands of the past and conversing with strange creatures made for such a respite from the literary fiction I had been reading up to this point. And if that isn't reason enough, here is my favorite quote. That last line, how perfect.
"I had no right to claim him, I knew it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me."